Emmys: When Co-Stars Battle for the Gold

10:00 AM 8/8/2016

by Anna Lisa Raya

From NBC to HBO to Netflix, campaign efforts will be carefully scrutinized by creators and stars as sibling programs face off in several fierce races.

Prashant Gupta, Ray Mickshaw/FX

  • FX

    Limited Series

    Ray Mickshaw/FX; Chris Large/FX

    The cabler jumped to the No. 2 spot in overall Emmy nominations (second to HBO, which always leads the pack) on the strength of its two horses in this category: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (which nabbed 22 nominations) and the second season of Fargo (18 nominations).

  • IFC

    Variety Sketch Series

    Rhys Thomas/IFC; Augusta Quirk/IFC

    Fred Armisen is IFC's good luck charm this year, fronting two nominated sketch shows: Documentary Now!, with its first and only nomination (Bill Hader co-stars, Helen Mirren hosts and Seth Meyers is among its producers); and Portlandia, which also scored a nom for writing (Carrie Brownstein co-stars).

  • Netflix

    Comedy Series

    Eric Liebowitz, K.C. Bailey/Netflix

    The streamer either makes a Sophie's choice or simply splits its sizable FYC resources up between sophomore sweetheart Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (with its second consecutive comedy series nom, as well as a lead actress nom for Ellie Kemper) and freshman darling Master of None (creator-star Aziz Ansari also is nominated for lead actor, writer and director).

  • NBC

    Reality Competition

    Trae Patton/NBC; David Becker/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

    The Voice, with two wins in the past three years, is the rare show to have challenged Amazing Race's dominance (the only other show to have won since the category was created in 2003 is Top Chef, once). NBC's other nominee, American Ninja Warrior, broke through with a nom in its eighth season (pushing out five-time nominee So You Think You Can Dance).

  • ABC

    Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

    ABC/Ryan Green

    Lili Taylor got a larger role in the second season of American Crime, which meant playing opposite co-star Felicity Huffman in several tense scenes, the strength of which earned them nominations in this category.

  • FX

    Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

    Prashant Gupta, Ray Mickshaw/FX

    They all played real-life lawyers battling it out in court, and next month People v. O.J. co-stars David Schwimmer, Sterling K. Brown and John Travolta will battle it out on the Emmy stage (against Fargo's Jesse Plemons and Bokeem Woodbine and The Night Manager's Hugh Laurie).

  • NBC

    Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

    Dana Edelson/NBC

    There always is a handful of Saturday Night Live hosts nominated in the guest acting category, but this year's contenders include a never-before double-nom for co-hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey (her fourth SNL hosting nom), who are up against Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy (her fourth SNL hosting nom as well).

  • HBO

    Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

    Courtesy of HBO; Macall B. Polay/HBO

    The bloodbath that typifies HBO's Emmy behemoth Game of Thrones continues into the series' 23 nominations this year, with Lena Headey, Maisie Williams and Emilia Clarke competing against one another in this category (and first-time nominee Kit Harington up against two-time winner Peter Dinklage in the supporting actor race).

  • FX

    Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

    Prashant Gupta/FX

    Cuba Gooding Jr. is up against co-star Courtney B. Vance for the top acting spot in a tight race that includes Oscar nominees Bryan Cranston and Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston.

  • National Geographic

    Informational Series or Special

    National Geographic Channels/Seth Nejame; NG Studios/Katy Andres

    Frequent voice of God (most recently for Hillary Clinton's convention biopic video) Morgan Freeman is up for his first-ever Emmy, for executive producing and hosting The Story of God, an investigative look into world religions. He'll be pitted against another NatGeo nominee of no less stature, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose Star Talk is nominated for its second year in a row.

  • Comedy/Drama Dynamo: Laurie Metcalf

    The Triple Threat

    Courtesy of The Loftus Company; Michael Yarish/CBS; Lacey Terrell/HBO

    Metcalf was the belle of the ball on Emmy nomination morning when her name was announced three different times, for guest actress in a comedy (The Big Bang Theory, for nine minutes of screen time), guest actress in a drama (Horace and Pete, on the strength of a nine-minute monologue) and lead actress in a drama (Getting On). Thankfully, she’s not up against herself, even though Horace and Pete is competing as a comedy in a nonacting category (multicamera editing — go figure).